With the grace of a seasoned show dog, along with the muscle definition of a well-defined body builder, the lamb turns and flexes for the crowd.
Though muscle definition and a smooth haircut are not the first things that come to mind when the word sheep is mentioned, for some Moffat County youth, it is often the most important thing.
On Saturday, sheep ranchers, 4-H students and FFA members from around the state will convene at the Moffat County Fairgrounds for the eighth annual Northwest Colorado Club Lamb Show.
"We're really excited about this year's event," Show Coordinator Amanda Buckner said. "We will probably have people coming in from the Ft. Collins area, Wyoming and Utah to participate. If you offer the right amount of prize money, you can get people to make the drive."
This year, the first-place overall winner will take home a prize of $500, a belt buckle and a jacket. The reserve champion will receive $200, a belt buckle and a jacket.
The money, though, is not what Buckner sees as the largest reward for many of the show participants.
"It's just great to see the smiles on some of these little kid's faces. And, to see how excited they are before the show begins is also something to see," she said. "When they all arrive, and are dressed up and you can see the excitement in their face, that is really what makes it so special."
This is Buckner's second year organizing the event, a duty she assumed after her mother, who was the show's original organizer, began to run out of time to put toward the organizational efforts.
"I really didn't want the show to have to end, because it has meant so much to me in the past to be able to participate," she said. "I always had a good time with it, and my mom had found that between work and helping my younger brothers show their own lambs, she was running out of time to do everything. I was at the age where I could no longer compete, so I thought that I would do my part to keep this event going."
Show lambs can bring the owners not only enjoyment and pride, but financial rewards as well. Lambs can often be sold for thousands of dollars. Buckner once sold her state fair champion lamb for $16,000.
"That was the highest that I have ever sold one for, but it was a very good show lamb," she said. "Most of them go anywhere from $25 to $2,500 and it all really depends on where you are at when you are looking to sell them. I've seen some people from Iowa come out here and spend a ridiculous amount of money for a lamb, so it all varies."
Last year's show saw 87 lambs and about 40 handlers attend, however, Buckner believes that this year will be even bigger.
"This is a great way for people to get ready for the fair," she said. "It is still early enough that handlers can make the adjustments that they need to be successful at the fair, while seeing what the other competitors have."
The weigh-in for the Northwest Colorado Lamb Show will be held from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., with the event beginning at 9:30 a.m. There is a $10 entry fee per lamb, the winners in each class earn $20 for first place and $10 for second.
For more information, call Amanda Buckner at 826-4331 or 824-6583.